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by Jim Clark

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    Hearing the subdued conversation and clinking of silverware on plates, I scanned the dining room filled with elderly people. I wondered what was going on in their hearts, behind the chitchat and occasional smiles.

    I was having lunch with my mother at a beautiful assisted living center in Southern California. Between breaks in our conversation, I occasionally looked at other residents and asked myself: “What do they look forward to each day?” the movie shown that night?... what they’ll eat for dinner?” Later that day one of the residents revealed to me a surprising goal.

    As I walked to the elevator, I noticed a man with a walker drag his way in front of me. “Mr. Kelly,” I said, recognizing my old neighbor. “Do you remember me?” In our brief exchange, I got an insight into the empty souls of many elderly people.

    “Do you like it here, Mr. Kelly.” “No.” “Why not?” “My wife died four years ago and I have nothing to live for. I’m praying to die.” He then paused and said, “But the problem is I’m too healthy; so I may not die for some time.” As he shuffled away, I thought how sad it is to have no hope, no purpose.

...how sad it is to have no hope, no purpose.
    While flying home I kept thinking about those in the retirement home such as Mr. Kelly. They’re comfortable and cared for by a loving staff. Yet how many of them are living with meaning in the depths of their souls?

    In his book, Aging Well, George Valliant says that the issue is not will we live long, but will we age well? He asks, “Will there be a deepening quality and satisfaction in our senior years, even though our bodies will be declining? How can we make the best of those extra years?“

    Whether we’re 30, 50 or 80, we all need to ask this question: What is my purpose in life? If it’s all about me, then I won’t be happy whether I’m in my twenties or my nineties.

    Jesus’ words come to mind as I think of that dining room in Ventura and Mr. Kelly’s sad words:

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.

    That’s it! The Lord brings us back to what life is all about, whether we’re on the verge of an exciting career, about to get married or nearing our final days on earth. It’s all about depending on Him, living out His mission, bringing praise to His Name. This is the secret to aging well. It’s life immersed in Jesus. With Christ in our hearts we’re guaranteed to age well... and live with Him forever.


Are you presently experiencing a new life? God’s word says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” This new life is a free gift of God through faith Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you’ve done, you can begin again. You may also contact Jim Clark at jimclark@abilene.com if you have questions about becoming a new creation.

 
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      © 2002, Herald of Truth and Jim Clark, Hope for Life. Used by permission.

      Title: ""
      Author: Jim Clark
      Publication Date: November 23, 2002


 
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